school board

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17 Year Old Student Makes California School Board

17-year old school board member Connor Cushman

Decisions made by the California State Board of Education are not agreed upon easily. Serious issues are debated, and the future of education for an entire state is rigorously investigated by qualified representatives; including a 17-year old high school student.

Conor Cushman is not able to vote for president, but is a member of the California State Board of Education with full voting privileges. The position was obtained through a state-wide competition; one that Cushman had no expectation of winning. Without an extensive knowledge of school board operations, Cushman applied for the student board member position and won. He is now part of an extremely influential political process, affecting teachers, parents and students in his home state.

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Atlanta Schools Placed on Probation

Students in the Atlanta Public School system are in danger of having their schools lose accreditation. On Tuesday, all Atlanta Public Schools were placed on probation and given nine months to turn things around or face loss of accreditation. This news affects one of the most visible school systems in the state of Georgia.

Surprisingly, this probation has nothing to do with the academics of the Atlanta Public School system. The probation is a result of the infighting and overall governance of the elected board that runs the city’s school system. This type of news is critical to almost 50,000 students because loss of accreditation can affect students’ ability to apply to college and their ability to receive scholarship money.

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Arkansas School Board Member Resigns for Anti-Gay Comments

Screen shot of McCance's Facebook profile, via The Advocate.

Screen shot of McCance's Facebook profile, via The Advocate.

Clint McCance officially offered his resignation to the Midland School Board, which was unanimously accepted in a special meeting. His removal from office came after a hateful anti-gay post on his Facebook. Not only did McCance use terms like “fag” he also said that he’s happy that homosexuals “give each other AIDS and die,” reports The Advocate. He further expressed his anger over the mourning of gay teens who died from suicide, saying that he would prefer it if all homosexuals would kill themselves.

CNN reports that McCance submitted a one-paragraph letter of resignation, apologizing for the public outcry caused by his statements. “I hope this resignation will help things get back to normal for you,” he wrote. “At no time did I want anyone to hurt themselves. I do not support bullying. I do not wish harm on anyone. I always learn from my mistakes and I hope that all of you learned something from this experience.” McCance was first elected to the school board in 2007, and was re-elected to serve a second term.

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White Supremacist Runs for School Board Seat Unchallenged

Image via Dan Schruender

Image via Dan Schruender

Dan Schruender was set to win a seat on California’s Rialto School Board. He did not gain much support in the district, in fact some called for him to pull out of the election. But he went unopposed.

Not only is Schruender a white supremacist, he is a former president of the California chapter of Aryan Nations and continues to be involved in the organization as the director of Publications and Information. In case it’s unclear how Schuender’s participation in the neo-Nazi organization really informs his opinions, his blog, “National Socialist American Labor Party Propaganda and Publications” is chock-full of racist propaganda. These messages, like one that implies that white women and girls are in danger of being murdered in “Obama’s America,” are even more disturbing in light of the fact that the Rialto school district is 75 percent Hispanic and 15 percent black. What kind of policies would he promote for a population he considers to be 90 percent opponents? Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Student Not Valedictorian Despite Top GPA

A GPA of 5.898? Pretty good, huh? Not surprisingly, Anjali Datta’s GPA of close to 6.0 was the highest in her graduating class in Grapevine, Texas—and probably the highest in her high school’s history. Nonetheless, Anjali was not awarded the title of valedictorian.

Come again?

Here’s the thing: Anjali managed to graduate high school in just three years, since she had so many credits. According to school board policy, students need to attend school for four years to be the valedictorian. This rule was set in place to prevent students from entering the school district at the last minute with the purpose of swiping the title. Although this isn’t the case, lawyers from the school district insist that the rule has to be followed nonetheless.

Instead, Anjali will be receiving a special title: “Valedictorian: Three Years.”

So why in the world is the school district being so strict about a rule that clearly wasn’t meant to apply to this situation? Why is a hardworking student being penalized for completing the task of high school in three years—which, by anyone’s standards, is one heck of an accomplishment?

It’s hard to say why bureaucracy won out over common sense in this situation. With admission to selective colleges so competitive, perhaps the school district was afraid that somebody’s parents would sue over the coveted title of valedictorian.

Whatever the reason, what kind of message does this send? Bureaucracy is more important than academic excellence? Success only counts if you jump through every hoop with 100% accuracy—even if your slightly faulty hoop jumping reflects an amazing accomplishment?

Valedictorian or not, Ms. Datta will be graduating with an unbelievable GPA, and has a fabulous future ahead of her. Best of luck to you, Anjali. You’re obviously on your way to a life of fabulous success stories—and no school board bureaucracy can take away.

Read more about this story in this Dallas Morning News.


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